Midnight in the European countryside, carrying all of their provisions, including their rifles and ammo, they waded through an ice-cold river. Then they heard the sudden order to stop and stand still. The order could last a few minutes or a few hours; for some it seemed like an eternity. Each soldier knew that his life depended on the soldier in front of him, and that each of their actions would define the course of history.
It was a different time then, where “life and death” held more meaning to our everyday lives than they ever could today, and a time when all Canadians became brothers and sisters against one enemy. Trust amongst men was easier to find back then than in today’s wired-electronic times.
At home, the families of our returning injured troops were given a pamphlet, issued by the Canadian Armed Forces, instructing Canadians on how to “prepare” for their return home. The instructions included things like how to knit covers for their amputated limbs, how to “accommodate” for their physical handicaps, how to avoid certain discussion topics, and how to “act” upon their return home. These were the same fathers and sons who had left months ago, returned now with not only their visible scars, but with the scars that only war could bring. Amid broken families, broken hearts, broken spirits, still they found the strength to move on. For many, their return was enough, as many more did not return at all.
Our veterans are the superheroes of our proud Canadian history and are the living icons of our Canadian heritage experience. Our current good fortune is due to their sacrifices, their courage, and their pride as Canadians, to fight for their beliefs and values which our current societies seem to have forgotten.
The leaves fall softly and silently on the ground; yet unlike our leaves, our fallen soldiers rarely went down in silence. They carried Canada’s dreams and our futures with them. Whether by taking a stand against world dictators, or to protect our own Canadian way of life, all members of our society collectively fought together as one common force.
I proudly wear the poppy each year. There is an honour behind this flower.
Wearing the poppy not only allows us to remember the people we lost in those struggles but also helps to redefine our beliefs in their personal sacrifices.
So when you see our veterans proudly selling poppies, go over and share a smile with them.
Thank them for their service, for their sacrifice of body, mind, and spirit.
Buying and wearing a poppy is the very least that they deserve from us.